The Colorado Avalanche are bringing another veteran to training camp, signing Artem Anisimov to a professional tryout according to CapFriendly. Anisimov joins Jack Johnson who will also be in camp on a PTO, battling for an NHL contract.
Anisimov, 33, has been in limbo for several years, burdened by a cap hit much higher than his on-ice value. Once a consistent 20-goal, 40-point center, he has registered a total of 17 goals and 29 points over the last two seasons combined while playing for the Ottawa Senators. He happened to have a cap hit of $4.55MM during that time, making him a difficult player to target for any contender at the deadline, despite his history of success at the NHL level.
Given he only played 19 games this season with the Senators, who had obviously moved on to younger options, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise to see Anisimov have to accept a PTO. It’s completely unclear what his value is at the NHL level at this point, though his possession statistics actually point to a player who could still be of some use in a limited role.
For Colorado, who were forced to watch Philipp Grubauer walk out the door in free agency because of their cap situation, signing veteran depth to professional tryouts is about the only way they can really add at this point. CapFriendly projects the team to have just under $2.4MM in cap space right now, but that is with just 12 forwards penciled into the roster. In reality, it’s even lower than that, and potential performance bonuses for Bowen Byram could result in cap overages for next season if they push right up to the $81.5MM upper limit this year.
That means whoever comes in to fill out the roster will have to be at or near the league minimum, something that may be realistic for a player like Anisimov. In fact, there actually could be some value here in a veteran of 771 NHL games. Remember that PTOs are not necessarily only for the team that signs them; Anisimov will be showcasing himself for the entire league, and can still sign an NHL deal with any team.